If you are going to see Gary Barlow at the Newcastle Arena later this month you are in for a great evening. I went along to the Sheffield show, here is a taste of what to expect.
Barlow arrives on stage at Sheffield Arena dressed in a cherry red suit, clicking his fingers as he walks down a short flight of steps with his six dancers looking like they have come from a roaring Twenties musical. They provided a memorable entrance. As Barlow sings a set of songs from Music Played by Humans, the tracks are bolstered with the addition of a six-piece brass section. ’Who’s Driving This Thing’ sounded magnificent whilst ‘Incredible’ had a nifty spring in its step. As he concludes the jazzy section with ‘Elita’ the track might not have featured Michael Bublé as on the recorded version, however the salsa infused number still resonated.
Much-loved songs from the back-catalogue
The Take That catalogue was never far away. Barlow performs all the dance moves associated with ‘Pray’. When he affirms at the end of the song “I’ve still got it” it could have sounded a touch conceited, but when you have 10,000 voices singing the song back you have to agree. Leona Lewis who had been the support act earlier appears again to duet with Barlow on ‘Could It Be Magic’ – their voices worked well together.
Some festive spirits
The cheesy but seasonal Christmas section saw Barlow, his dancers and even Santa riding on a sleigh. The Shakin’ Stevens hit ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ might have benefited from being performed faster as on the original version, rather than it sounding a tad dreary.
A Barlow close-up
As Barlow changes into a black military jacket, he appeared on a smaller stage at the rear of the arena “now you are on the front row” he declares to the excited fans. His musical director Mike Stevens effortlessly plays a soulful saxophone solo during ‘A Million Love Songs’ with Barlow looking proudly on.
Take That greatest hits
It was back to the main stage for what in effect became a run through of Take That’s hits sung back-to-back. A giant mirror ball is suspended from the arena ceiling as ‘Relight My Fire’ benefitted from the inclusion of the brass section. While Barlow sings the lines of the song normally sung by Lulu, if there had been ever an opportunity for Leona Lewis to re-join Barlow back on stage, this would have been it. ‘Patience’ had the Sheffield audience literally taking over the song as Barlow looked on in awe before ‘Back For Good’ equally received the same response. His younger fans seemed to appreciate ‘Cry’, the track Take That recorded with dance duo Sigma – a song which at the time of its release was a reinvention for the group.
The confetti cannons showered the audience as the night ended with ‘Never Forget’. Barlow had been the perfect entertainer in a diverse yet thrillingly captivating evening, in a show the fans will never forget.
Gary Barlow plays Newcastle Utilita Arena on Saturday 18th December.